Sometimes we need to do more than write in order to reach our target audiences. An increasingly popular way to get our words out is through podcasts. To learn more about how researchers and academic writers use podcasts, I interviewed Dr. Katie Linder.
Katie’s work with the Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit Research in Action podcast series is nothing short of amazing. Each podcast also comes with a written transcript and instructional resources. In addition to logging into the RIA home page, you can access the series through all major podcast platforms.
JS You are a champion for podcasts about research: Research in Action. First, can you briefly tell us why and how this series started? Who is your audience?
KL When Oregon State Ecampus first launched its research unit in August 2015, we thought a podcast might be a fun way to contribute to the higher education community. The “Research in Action” podcast was the brainchild of our research unit and marketing team, in collaboration with our multimedia team. Two of our main goals are to increase research literacy and to support a community for researchers in higher education.
JS Why are podcasts useful for researchers?
What do podcasts achieve for academic writers?
KL Podcasting is a great way to synthesize research into bite-sized pieces for listeners who come from a range of backgrounds. Not only does podcasting help researchers think through how to communicate their work to different audiences, but the medium can also go a long way to increase research literacy at scale.
JS The series includes many disciplines and perspectives. How do you identify people to include in Research in Action? Do you invite them, or do researchers ask to be included?
KL We try to bring a diverse range of guests and topics on the show, so we are always on the lookout for people and research that might make interesting episodes. I often invite people who are recommended by our Twitter followers, and I also receive emails from potential guests or listeners with suggestions for who should come on the show.
We keep a running list in a spreadsheet of potential guests broken out by gender, since we try to alternate men and women in the episode schedule.
We are always trying to be more diverse with our guests, so we encourage suggestions from listeners.
JS The RIA website also includes Instructor Guides. Briefly, what are some ways instructors and students can use RIA podcasts?
KL We designed the “RIA” podcast so that it can be a useful supplemental resource for courses on research methods and design. Because the show features researchers from a range of disciplines discussing diverse topics, there are many episodes to choose from to incorporate into a course.
Each instructor guide includes:
- Information about the podcast
- Information about the specific episode, including the guest bio and segment topics
- Time stamps for each segment
- A link to the episode show notes and transcript
- Learning outcomes for the episode
- Guiding questions for listening to the episode
- Potential classroom activities that could be paired with the episode
- Suggested citation for the episode
We also created a Podcast 101 document, which includes information that can be shared with your students regarding how to most easily access the “Research in Action” podcast. The Podcast 101 document and instructor guides are available as .docx files, allowing instructors to copy and paste the information included in each document directly into a syllabus, course website or assignment.
We love when people create an assignment or play a “Research in Action” episode in their class, so email email@example.com or tweet to @RIA_podcast to share your experience with us if you do the same.
JS What do academic writers need to know if they want to start podcasting? (Specific skills, planning steps, etc.)
KL There are several important questions to consider before you launch into podcasting:
- What is the theme or topic for your podcast? You’ll want to make sure you have enough episode ideas to produce consistent content.
- What is your podcast’s schedule? You will want to choose how frequently your podcast will release episodes. Some podcasts release weekly or monthly while other shows release episodes in batches called “seasons.”
- How will you format your podcast? Will you host it by yourself? Will you have a co-host? Will you bring on guests?
- What cover art will you use? If you are posting your podcast to iTunes, your cover art needs to be 1400 x 1400 pixels minimum and 3000 x 3000 pixels maximum.
- Who is the audience for your podcast? Who are you hoping will listen to the show?
- What kind of online presence will your podcast have? Does it need a website to house show notes? Will you be sharing about the podcast on social media accounts?
Answering each of these questions will help you clarify some of the logistics for your podcast.
JS Do you recommend that academic writers find existing podcasts and request a guest slot, or start their own podcast channel?
KL Being a guest on someone else’s podcast is certainly less of an investment than creating your own show. However, if you see a gap in the podcasting landscape that only you can fill, then jump on in! There are lots of resources available online to help new podcasters get started.
JS Anything else you’d like to share about RIA?
KL The Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit “Research in Action” podcast team often fields questions about how to get started with podcasting and the kinds of tools and software we use to produce our show. We created a new guide as a “quick tips” resource for those looking to launch their own podcast or for people who just want to learn a little more about how “Research in Action” is produced. The guide launched on Nov. 26, so visit https://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/podcasts to learn more!
Read more MethodSpace posts about podcasting!